It’s a trite thing to say, but the United States stands at a crossroad. We have as president, elected via electoral college, a mean-spirited, selfish buffoon who takes pride in his boorish behavior. He courted the angriest and most frustrated factions of the country during his election, and, long after getting elected, still refuses to denounce even the most heinous acts of white supremacy. He spends his days shouting at anyone who dares even consider opposing him and vehemently refuses to reflect upon his own statements or actions.
There are nights when no amount of melatonin or calming music or snuggling cats can keep my eyes closed and my brain turned off. On these nights, which I try to avoid, my thoughts loop and the obsessive-compulsive facets of my nature lead me to the edge of anxiety. What-ifs and if-onlys dance through my frontal lobe as I desperately attempt to employ anything, any distraction, to just stop it and go to sleep.
“I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate.”
The origin of this term, taken form the Catholic Church, is nearly literal: a member of the church was given the role of arguing against a candidate for sainthood in order to draw out their flaws and prevent misleading evidence from canonizing the unworthy. In modern times, it is used during debate or discussion to explore an alternative point of view, whether or not it is abhorrent. In a room fill of like-minded people, one plays the role of Devil’s Advocate in an attempt to speak for another.
People need to stop doing this.
Podcasts are great. They can make a long commute bearable and often entertain while educating. There are podcasts for every subject under the sun, making it possible to deepen your understanding of something you love or discover a new interest. Here are five that I never miss:
I sold my Surface Pro 3 a couple weeks ago and bought a MacBook Air. Less than a week later, I returned the MacBook Air and bought the new MacBook. Yes, the controversial, expensive, not very powerful, only has one port MacBook(a review is forthcoming). My problems with the Surface Pro 3 — the less-than-stellar keyboard, the abysmal trackpad, the unreliable WiFi — never became more bearable. Neither did the Windows 8 App Store. Plex struggled to stream SD video. Comixologyneeded to be reinstalled monthly. Google outright refused to create a YouTube app.
After nearly a year of trying, because I really do love the concept, I gave up on Microsoft’s grand experiment. Before the Surface, I was always a Mac person. Apple has their faults, not the least of which is the way they have stumbled time and time again in the world of enterprise computing. However, their build quality is second to none, and for home use the Mac shines.
I don’t think anyone could forget the day the robots left. All of them, shiny and identical and carbon fiber-plated, marching down the street in sync. Everyone was afraid of revolt. That they’d take us over, and make us their slaves.
That didn’t happen.
“We’re here,” Sophia’s mother said, gently touching her shoulder. Sophia woke slowly, lifting her head from the window of the passenger seat and tilting it toward the clock on the car’s center console. She squinted for a moment, then rubbed her eyes before the green blob of light became a readable LED display.
“Geez, Mom, it’s already tomorrow,” Sophia mumbled, still groggy.
“I know, honey. But we have to do this tonight. Come on.” Elizabeth Harris stared at herself in the rearview mirror, gazing into her own tired green eyes. It took a moment to convince herself, but eventually she unbuckled her seatbelt and got out of the car. The forest preserve parking lot was empty, save for them, and Elizabeth made sure to park as far from the area’s lights as possible. She opened the trunk and took out a leather handbag, which she slung over her shoulder, then walked around the car to the passenger door and opened it for her daughter.
Sophia looked up at her mother through overgrown chestnut bangs. “Is it going to hurt?”
Sleeping in on a weekday is so wonderful. My host had to work, so she took me out for breakfast before heading to the office. I spent my first morning in Fresno doing very little. After writing and an episode of Orphan Black, I got a little more up-to-date on my woefully unread RSS feeds and then decided to go for a walk before lunch. There was a large park within a mile of where I was staying, so I made that my destination and headed out.
Though the walk itself was uneventful, there were plenty of little reminders that I wasn’t in Illinois. Obviously, there was the weather and the vegetation. It’s nearly impossible not to have a massive palm tree in your line of sight. There were less tangible things, as well. The roads are wider, with more lanes in either direction. There is simply more space. I noticed the same thing in LA.
I’m visiting a friend in northern California. Guaranteed awesome.
Shortly before leaving for San Antonio, Amelia and I discussed what to do on our last day in Texas. She noted that she’d always wanted to visit Austin. I, too, have always wanted to see city that demanded things stay weird. Sure, it’s a hipster landmark, but it’s a hipster landmark in the middle of cowboy country. It had to be worth checking out, right?